Urinary and Genital Tract Infections- Urology
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A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that occurs in the urinary tract system. The most common UTI is found in the bladder and urethra.
Facts & Statistics About UTIs
- UTI is one of the most common bacterial infections affecting 150 million people worldwide.
- Females are affected more often than males.
- One in five women will experience a UTI at least once in their lifetime. Of those women, 20% will have a recurrence - each time a woman has a UTI, her chances of more increase.
- Men who have a UTI are more likely to experience recurrences as the bacteria can stay in the prostate.
- At least 80% of UTIs are caused by a single bacteria, most often E.coli.
Causes & Risk Factors
Urinary tract infections typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder
Some people are at higher risk of developing UTIs than others. These include:
- Those who have had a UTI in the past
- Those with blockage in the urinary tract system, such as kidney stones or an enlarged prostate.
- A person using a catheter
- Women with low or no estrogen
Symptoms & Detection
In some cases, a person may not develop symptoms. However, the most common ones are:
- A burning sensation or painful urination
- A pressing need to urinate but secrete only a trickle of urine
- Pain, pressure, or soreness in the lower abdomen or pelvic area
- Cloudy or blood-tinged urine
- Strong odor or ammonia smell when urinating
If not treated, the infection can spread to the kidneys. These symptoms include:
- Pain in the lower back
Detection and treatment
A urinalysis urine test can detect bacteria in the urine. In most cases, the patient has been prescribed an antibiotic. Most people feel better after two days on the antibiotic, but since bacteria could still be in the system, it is recommended to finish the medication as prescribed.
If symptoms don’t go away after a few days or the patient has a history of UTIs, the doctor may order an ultrasound, CT scan, MRI or perform a cystoscopy to look inside the bladder.
Tips To Prevent UTI
- Wipe from front to back after using the restroom.
- Go to the restroom when needed, avoid holding it
- Take showers instead of baths, wash with warm water.
- Stay away from scented products such as soap, bubble baths, bath oils, and even sanitary napkins and tampons.
- Avoid douches, deodorant sprays, and powders.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothes. Wear breathable fabric, like cotton.
- Urinate before and after intercourse to flush the urinary tract and drink water afterward.
The best thing one can do is to drink plenty of water. While it may be unavoidable, foods high in antioxidants and probiotics like the ones listed may help ward off UTIs.
- Cranberries and unsweetened cranberry juice
- Unsweetened Greek yogurt
- Leafy greens like spinach and kale
Avoid citric and acidic foods as well as:
- Spicy Food
If you show any of the symptoms of a UTI or suspect you may have a urinary tract infection visit your doctor or the nearest health care services. UTIs in pregnant women and children can spread to the kidney’s faster and risk them developing a kidney infection, easier. While these tips may help prevent UTIs, they will not cure a urinary tract infection.